Wafa Samara; 23/12/09
Agricultural officials and olive producers and exporters will meet soon to discuss a proposed plan to stop exporting olives to Israel and consider alternatives, Minister of Agriculture Saeed Masri said Monday. Meanwhile, agricultural imports from Israel have gone down by 75 per cent so far this year, compared to last year, the official said. “The ministry will meet with olive producers and exporters at the end of the current harvest season to review procedures of exporting local olive fruit to Israel,” Masri told The Jordan Times. He stressed that the new procedures will take into consideration farmers’ as well as consumers’ interests. The Jordan Olive Products Exporters Association (JOPEA) has said exports of olives to Israel, estimated at one-third of the Kingdom’s production, is harming the sector because it hampers full utilisation of the commercial benefits of the produce. “Israel tends to buy Jordan’s high-quality olives from farmers as of September of each year at 600 fils per kilo,” JOPEA Director Musa Saket said, describing the price as more “profitable” for farmers than local prices, which usually ranges between 450-500 fils per kilo. Around 10,000 tonnes of olives from irrigated orchards are exported to Israel every year,” Saket added, underlining the association’s efforts to convince the ministry to discontinue exports of olives to Israel by next year. We seek to prevent selling olives to Israel as it harms the local economy,” said Saket, pointing out that Israel remanufactures the olives into pickles and exports them to other countries claiming that they are Israeli products.